During these challenging times, when federal, state and local guidance and/or mandates are limiting the size of visitations and funerals, webcasting or livestreaming a funeral can be an excellent way for those who cannot be physically present at a service to still partake in the event,
NFDA offers a webcasting license that covers the copyrighted music in the ASCAP, BMI and SESAC catalogs. It covers services broadcast via funeral webcasting software, as well as other livestreaming platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Zoom, Vimeo and Skype.
If you do not currently have a NFDA funeral webcasting license, click here for more information and to purchase one.
NFDA offers sample legal forms that give authorization for funeral homes to webcast funeral services and direction to record funeral services.
Download the Complete Legal Packet for Streaming or Posting Recorded Funeral Services
NFDA Recommendation: Do Not Use Facebook or YouTube to Livestream Funerals or to Post Recordings of Funerals
Facebook and YouTube have entered into lawsuit settlements with music companies that prevent them from allowing some copyrighted music to be played over their systems. The blocking and muting is done by algorithms. Even though a member has a webcasting license to stream the music in their funeral over the web, Facebook and YouTube will mute it. If the user continues to stream the copyrighted music over their systems, eventually they will block the user from using the system.
NFDA worked on this issue several weeks ago and was unable to get Facebook to engineer a change. They claimed they were precluded from doing so because of the prior settlement agreements. NFDA advises members use their own websites, or other streaming tools such as Zoom, Vimeo, or other commercial services, which do not have these copyright issues, to stream funerals.NFDA has been notified of the “muting” problem that funeral homes are experiencing when streaming funerals over Facebook. We have been in contact with a BMI representative who explains that several years ago Facebook entered into agreements with song producers to resolve copyright infringement claims. These agreements require Facebook to mute streamings that are broadcast over the Facebook platform if the streaming includes music belonging to the songwriters. He further explained that BMI, ASCAP and SESAC are not parties to these agreements and have no way to modify them. In addition, Facebook cannot modify them unilaterally. So, unfortunately, there is no way to solve the muting problems with Facebook.
In addition to webcasting vendors (find a list here), here are a few articles with alternatives for livestreaming: